AS I write this column – past lunch hour of Thursday, January 17, 2019 – I just came from the well-attended Multi-Sectoral Anti-Vote-Buying Campaign held at the University of the Philippines in Baguio.

There, I got to represent my group from the Lakas–CMD or Christian Muslim Democrats – and signed on our behalf the multi-sectoral “Memorandum of Understanding” committing to the campaign against vote buying – and its cognate – vote selling.

Program: Multi-Sectoral Anti - Vote Buying Campaign in Baguio City

The welcome remarks was delivered by Fr. Manny Flores, Jr. of the Social Action Center of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Baguio.

The Coordinator of I Vote Good / PPCRV Baguio enthused: “We are glad to see you here in this hall to be one in this Anti-Vote Buying Campaign called for by Comelec-Baguio.

“This shows that you believe and trust in the integrity of our election process and we need to safeguard it so that truly the will of the people be upheld and not the concern of a selfish few,” he said.

Comelec Baguio City Election Officer John Paul Martin then briefed on the Multi-Sectoral Anti – Vote Buying project.

Messages on the campaign were delivered by Comelec–CAR (Cordillera Administrative Region) Regional Election Director Julius D. Torres; and by Comelec Benguet Provincial Election Supervisor Nicasio S. Jacob.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Baguio – headed by the Most Rev. Victor B. Bendico – also sent in a one-page message from Bishop Bendico that was read for him by Fr. Manny Flores, Jr.

Bishop Bendico noted that “every election period, we always get to hear of this cry of “No To Vote Buying/Selling.”

“It is good to know that our people are becoming more aware of the evils and consequences of such practice. As I have heard that the City of Baguio as well as Benguet province’s elections is generally peaceful, I pray that this campaign would remind us that our elections be an honest and credible one.

“We are one with Comelec Baguio’s campaign of Anti-Vote-Buying. Through our I Vote Good / PPCRV-Baguio in our Participatory Program of the Commission for Promoting Integral Human Development – Social Action Ministry, we will participate in fulfilling the objectives of such a campaign.”

Bishop Bendico then concluded his message, thus:

“God bless this gathering and may we dedicate ourselves in bringing about a credible elections.

“Let us not buy each other out.

“Let us believe in our democratic process that we are truly chosen by our people.”

Messages of support and commitment

Delivering messages of support and commitment to the campaign were representatives from government agencies, CSOs, NGOs, student organizations from various universities, and candidates representing various political parties.

The program listed the following supporting agencies and sectors and their respective representatives who shared how their agencies are supporting the Anti-Vote-Buying – and Anti-Vote-Selling – Campaign:

DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government): Director Evelyn B. Trinidad;

BCPO (Baguio City Police Office): PSSupt Eliseo T. Tanding;

DepEd (Department of Education): Dr. Federico P. Martin;

DENR (Department of Environment & Natural Resources): Engr. Ralph C. Pablo (represented by Cleo Andrada);

DPWH (Department of Public Works & Highways): Engr. Rene F. Zarate;

DOJ-NPS (Department of Justice – National Prosecution Service): Baguio City Prosecutor Elmer M. Sagsago;

IBP (Integrated Bar of the Philippines): Atty. Alan Antonio S. Mazo;

The Baguio We Want / I Vote Good: Fr. Manny Flores, Jr.; and

PIA (Philippine Information Agency): Director Helen R. Tibaldo (who emceed the program).

The representatives of the political parties and groups running in the 2019 Local Elections all expressed their support and commitment to the Anti – Vote – Buying Campaign.

Free Dental Mission

We are very happy to have co-sponsored a very successful dental mission that was completely free for the patients and participants.

The mission on Sunday, 13 January 2019, was held in our home barangay – at the City Camp Proper (CCP) Barangay Hall – the now half-century-old and first "Youth Center" of Baguio City.

So many youth were beneficiaries of this free dental mission with main sponsor Kenway Dental Care of Toronto, Canada.

Kenway Dental Care is owned by Dr. Eric Domingo – who led the free dental mission – and our dear supportive CCP barangay-mate Mrs. Daisy Gutierrez-Domingo.

Dr. Eric Domingo single-handedly did all the tooth extractions – and brought all the dental implements and donated all the anesthesia and free toothbrush for all the patients, participants and supporters of our project.

Dr. Domingo was ably assisted by 'Mini' Robin Henry (College of Dentistry - Centro Escolar University).

The very-supportive Barangay Officials of City Camp Proper (CCP) took care of the announcements, invitations, welcome program, registration of participants & patients, reading of blood-pressure levels, crowd control, etc.

Residents and patients needing free tooth extraction trooped in from CCP and from several surrounding barangays – including Lower QM, Upper QM, Lower Lourdes, Lourdes Extension, Guisad Surong, Upper Rock Quarry, Dr. Carino Drive, and Palma Urbano.

Total number of patients: 68 for tooth extraction plus more for dental check-up!

Total number of teeth extracted in 4-5 hours: 100 plus.

And last but not the least: Here's a shout-out for my brother – Barangay City Camp Proper's First Kagawad Regino Rey V Alambra – the proponent of this unbelievably successful grassroots project

Diyos ti ag-ngina kada kayo amin, apo!